Institute for Board Chairs and Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities

January 16 – 18, 2020  –  Phoenix, AZ
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The most important relationship for effective governance is that between the board chair and the president. To succeed, both individuals must commit their time and talents to work as partners for the institution and the students they serve.

AGB’s Institute for Board Chairs and Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities allows chair-president teams to develop robust partnerships and create a focused agenda that moves both the board and the institution forward. Since 1985, nearly 900 teams have participated in the institute, and have found it essential to effective governance at their institutions. As a result of this Institute, board chairs and presidents will strengthen their relationship, find answers to emerging challenges, and develop an action agenda for the board.

Facilitated group sessions provide best practices in governance and effective strategies from other institutions, while president-chair team meetings and one-on-one consultations allow participants to focus on shared work at their own institutions.

By participating in this institute, participants will:

  • Enjoy highly engaging small-group sessions with higher education experts to discuss best practices and innovations in governance;
  • Develop an action agenda for improving board practice and advancing their institutions;
  • Participate in one-on-one consultations to focus on shared work at their institutions and assess the strength of their boards; and
  • Engage with a network of peers to learn from and draw upon after the institute concludes.

Event Resources


Day One: Thursday, January 16

7:30 am – 8:30 am

Optional Breakfast for Presidents 
Gather with AGB leadership to discuss among peers the challenges your institution and fellow presidents are facing.

8:45 am – 9:45 am

Optional Breakfast for Board Chairs
Gather with AGB leadership to discuss among peers the challenges your institution and fellow board chairs are facing.

12:00 – 1:00 pm

Meet your fellow participants and participate in an introductory special exercise to better understand what success means to you and your partner.

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm

Welcome and Setting the Stage
Meet the facilitators, review the overall institute program, and engage in an important early discussion about “what keeps you up at night” as a leader.

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm

Board, President, and Chair Responsibilities
Explore the distinct roles of board chair and chief executive, and make explicit a set of mutual expectations of “who does what, and when.”

3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

An Anatomy of Good Board Governance
Sharpen your response to the key question: “How would you know an effective board in action if you saw one?”

4:45 pm – 5:45 pm

Team Meeting #1: An Assessment of Your Board
In the first of five essential activities between you and your partner, develop a shared understanding of your board’s current focus and its readiness for the work ahead.

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Reception and Dinner

Day Two: Friday, January 17

7:30 am – 8:15 am


8:15 am – 9:45 am

Getting Your Board Risk-Savvy: Challenges and Opportunities
Examine how the board and president can cultivate institutional responsiveness, innovation, and boldness, as well as facilitate collaboration between board chair and president.

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Team Meeting #2: Identifying Risks and Expectations with Your Board
Plan together with your partner to position your board to add value by embracing upside and downside risk.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Building a High-Performing Board: Getting Your Board into Strategy Mode
Clarify how you can build and sustain a board that thinks strategically.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Team Task #3: Building a High-Performing Team
Work together with your partner to develop board policies, practices, and ultimately a board culture that improves performance and adds strategic value.

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm

Assessing and Building Effectiveness
Develop wise and practical approaches for board accountability and presidential accountability. Note: Each participant will also receive a complimentary copy of two AGB publications: Assessing Board Performance and Assessing Presidential Effectiveness.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

Team Task #4: Assessing President and Board Effectiveness
Together with your partner assess the strengths and challenges in your board and presidential assessment practices, identify new opportunities, and make a fresh plan for undertaking these important responsibilities.

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Reception and Dinner
On Leadership: A Fireside Chat with Mr. Fred DuVal
Mr. DuVal is a two-term member and former chair of the Arizona Board of Regents, and a member of the AGB Board of Directors. A dedicated public servant, Mr. DuVal has worked in both the White House and U.S. State Department, as well as in the Arizona Governor’s Office. He also founded the Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona, authored two books on civic issues in Arizona, and ran as the Democratic nominee for governor of Arizona in 2014. AGB is pleased to present a special evening discussion with Mr. DuVal on the subject of public leadership, as part of this program.

Day Three: Saturday, January 18

7:30 am – 8:15 am


8:15 am – 10:00 am

Using Committees to Support the Board’s Work
Examine what it means for a board’s committees to drive the board’s agenda forward and explore how and when to revise your board’s committee structure.

10:15 am – 11:15 am

Team Task #5: Strengthening the Board’s Structure and Culture
Plan together with your partner for how you will build and leverage your board’s committees to maximize benefit.

11:15 am – 11:30 am

Team Task #6: Reviewing the Leadership Team Action Plan
With your partner ensure all of the planning you have done adds up to a clear set of deliverables, time lines, and next steps to take governance to a higher level together.

11:30 am – 12:00 pm

Closing Session
Address lingering questions and discuss where you go from here. Review concrete actions and key takeaways for implementing your action plan and ensuring board buy-in.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch and Departure
Before returning home take advantage of one final opportunity to consult one-on-one with institute facilitators and AGB staff to ensure that your president and board chair partnership is prepared and supported for future success.


Shannon McCambridge

Shannon McCambridge
Trustee Emerita, Gonzaga University; Consultant, AGB Search

Ms. McCambridge brings many years of experience in higher education governance, having served four terms on the board of trustees of Gonzaga University, where she now serves as trustee emerita. As a trustee she chaired both the Academic Policy Committee and the Governance Committee for many years. She currently serves on the Legal Committee, the Long-term Planning Committee, and the Committee on Trustees and Governance. During her trusteeship she helped draft and implement a number of best practices for Gonzaga, including its first New Trustee Orientation Program. In addition to her experience as a trustee, Ms. McCambridge brings to the institute her expertise as a consultant for AGB Search–where she aids in the selection process of higher education leaders–and her professional background practicing and teaching employment law. Ms. McCambridge graduated with honors from three institutions: Gonzaga University (B.A.), William Mitchell College of Law (J.D.), and John Marshall Law School (LL.M).

Dr. Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran

Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran
President Emerita, Kalamazoo College; Vice Chair, Pomona College Board of Trustees; Senior Fellow, AGB

Dr. Wilson-Oyelaran was the president of Kalamazoo College for 11 years before retiring in 2016. Under her leadership the institution heightened trustee and alumni engagement, completed new construction and campus renovations, revised the curriculum, and made considerable strides toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive campus. She previously served as vice president and dean of the college at Salem College (NC) and held teaching and high-level administrative positions at Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina Wesleyan College, and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. Dr. Wilson-Oyelaran is the recipient of numerous honors and awards for her work in higher education, diversity, and inclusion, including two honorary doctorates, the Gender Equity Architect Award from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, the Star Award from the Posse Foundation, and an American Council of Education Fellowship.

Registration & Refund Policy

The registration fee for the institute is $8,745 per two-member team.

The registration fee includes program expenses for both the board chair and the president, private lodging for two nights, meals during the Institute, and program materials.

This program is available only to board chairs and presidents of independent institutions that are members of AGB.

Due to the intensive nature of the Institute, spouses and families are not included in the program. The curriculum is designed with a strong emphasis on developing the chair-president relationship through private interaction and collaboration; it makes full use of the participants’ time throughout the three-day meeting. AGB appreciates this commitment from all participants. Please contact with any questions. 

All cancellations and requests for refunds must be submitted in writing to AGB will issue a full refund if written notification of cancellation is provided to AGB by November 11, 2019 for the winter program. AGB will issue refunds after the meeting. No refunds will be issued for attendees who cancel after this date. AGB is not responsible for cancellations due to airline disruption, inclement weather or schedule changes.


Royal Palms Resort and Spa
5200 E. Camelback, Road
Phoenix, AZ  85018

Institute Application

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Payment and Refund Policies

Please select your preferred payment method. Upon review and acceptance of your application, you will be contacted by the AGB Registrar to complete your payment.

Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing to Cancellations received on or before November 11, 2019 are entitled to a full refund. No refunds will be granted for cancellations after these dates.